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1892: Goodison, 2014?

by   |  28/04/2014  Comments (31)  jump

We’ve had a wonderful season. I have enjoyed Martinez’s first term here more than any other in my Everton supporting life. There is a wonderful belief amongst fans, and it feels as though we are on the cusp of something big, a return to the top.

However, Goodison Park has become a hindrance. There have been murmurings recently that an announcement is to be made at this week’s AGM. I am not a shareholder so cannot attend but I will be following the meeting with huge interest.

Liverpool have just announced the redevelopment of Anfield to a capacity of 58,000. I believe this presents a huge, one-off opportunity to Everton FC. While we don’t like to admit it, we have become the second club of the City – but now we can change that. Building a new stadium with a smaller capacity than a regenerated Anfield is an admission of second class status. The door to the city is ajar and we must force ourselves through it and onto centre stage.

If Goodison Park truly cannot be redeveloped (which I suspect is a conclusion reached more from a commercial/financing perspective rather than a logistical one), then move we shall. However, this move must be to the city centre, perhaps to the northern docks, to Everton itself right by Prince Rupert’s Tower; right to the heart of the city. Everton FC can reclaim the city of Liverpool.

While our red cousins redevelop and stay at Anfield, we can and must build a bigger stadium. It must be iconic, it must be bespoke, and it must have a capacity of 65,000+.

1. Iconic

King’s Dock was a wonderful idea and it’s a real shame it didn’t work out. But that must be the model. There is just no comparison to Kirkby which, in my opinion, would have been a bad move for the club; the design was uninspiring and the location was wrong. A vision like the one proposed for King’s Dock must be the objective. Everton’s new stadium should be part of the skyline; every visitor to the city should see the stadium on the waterfront and/or from Lime Street.

2. Bespoke

The design must be bespoke and must epitomise Everton FC by echoing the very best of Goodison Park. Scale is paramount. Rather than two sweeping bowl tiers like the Emirates, two/three towering, steep tiers so that the fans are right on top of the pitch. This will generate an unrivalled atmosphere. There should also be a defined Main Stand, with the other three sides a horseshoe. Some form of tower design should be incorporated into one corner to echo both St Luke’s and Prince Rupert’s tower. This could incorporate a hotel, a club shop, a museum housing the Everton Collection and retail space for a major commercial partner.

3. Capacity

Build it and they will come. If the above two criteria are met, then Everton will quickly fill a stadium of 65,000+. How? Not only will it be central, accessible and iconic, but Everton can be the cheapest (and best) ground in the Premier League at which to watch football. Why would families go to Anfield at £50+ a ticket, when they can watch Everton at Clarence Dock for £30 a seat, or £15 for kids? Corporate provision is also key. And being in the heart of the city, with a capacity that vastly eclipses both the Echo Arena and Anfield, would mean all the city’s massive music events etc. would be staged at Everton, generating additional revenues.

4. Overall

I know that some may immediately dampen dreams such as these with "realism", "pragmatism", and "commercial considerations". But it shouldn’t be like that. We must find a way, and we must find it now. Some may say we cannot afford to build what is described here – but I believe that we cannot afford not to.

This is the biggest decision in the history of the club since we left Houlding at Anfield Road and build Goodison Park. In 1892 we dreamt big and must do the same now. The new stadium will be where the club plays its football for the next 100 years or more. My great-grandchildren will watch Everton at this new ground and, if the Club gets it right, they will be watching one of the best teams in the world and a truly unique and exceptional venue.

We cannot afford to compromise. We cannot afford to settle. We must build the biggest and best stadium, right in the heart of the city.

Nothing but the best will be good enough.

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Reader Comments (31)

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Andy Fino
1 Posted 28/04/2014 at 15:00:04
I think we need to think big but it is only going to happen if we are willing to change the name to create vast amounts of money, i.e. the Ford stadium or the Google arena. Or maybe the richest member of our board, Lord Ecclestone, might be willing to loan us the money with a very small monthly payback as long as we name a stand after him.

We need a director or chairman who is willing to think big and has the balls to ask large corporate enterprises or wealthy individuals if they are willing to come on board. We as Evertoians can but hope.

John Raftery
2 Posted 28/04/2014 at 15:51:53
Agreed. Build the capacity and people will fill the seats providing the price is right and the team is competitive. Big crowds will also generate increased commercial revenue.
Dennis Stevens
3 Posted 28/04/2014 at 16:06:49
Eh? You do know there's no prospect of a new or refurbished stadium whilst the current Board are in place, no?
Nick Entwistle
5 Posted 28/04/2014 at 19:06:56
There was a BBC2 modern architecture programme on about 5 or 6 years ago. The presenter was in a corporate area of Wembley commenting on Foster's design. How it places the privileged above the fan who all sit in one sweeping area without the sense and benefit of sections that allow atmosphere to generate... all the while an England game played in the background. Absolutely brilliant. Bet the FA didn't think that was going to happen.

My point being is that emphasising top corporate facilities, yet as you're requesting a bespoke design with the fan in mind are non-compatible.

Take Bilbao's new stadium. They had what was an Englsih style stadium and known for its amazing atmosphere generated from it. Now they have their bowl with corporate features and its like every other modern stadium. The list can go on and on.

Now Boca Juniors have a fun stadium. Three sides for the fan, one side 99% corporate... its not perfect, but is the best of both worlds.

Richard Reeves
6 Posted 28/04/2014 at 19:26:17
Charlie, I agree with your idea that this is what the club should be doing as I’ve mentioned on another thread. I assume like myself you 100% know there is no chance with the current board but it is your opinion on what the club should be aiming for.
Danny Broderick
7 Posted 28/04/2014 at 21:44:27
Beggars can't be choosers, I'm afraid. If you've got the money, you can be picky. But if you don't have the cash - and let's face it, this board have done NOTHING to create any real investment of note - then you've got no chance. We saw their plans for Kirkby - it would have looked like Ewood Park, in the middle of nowhere.

Sorry to be the voice of doom, but the best we can hope for is a change of board. If Kenwright and his cronies try to build it, we'll never see it.

Ian Robert
8 Posted 28/04/2014 at 22:25:48
Are the club offering to speak of new grounds or are they being forced to discuss it by the Shareholders?
They may have found an area they consider suitable (with the input of Liverpool council) but unless we have a "kirkby" type situation i.e. someone is going to build us a ground as part of a complex...I cannot see how this can happen.
Mark Burs
9 Posted 28/04/2014 at 22:42:25
While we are at it, let's make our home end bigger the the KOP.

COYB!!!!!

Patrick Murphy
10 Posted 28/04/2014 at 22:42:59
Ian I think it is just an update of any developments on the proposed move away from Goodison - Although last week on the Echo live news feed there was something relating to something happening but it had been taken down for some reason - don't know if it was related to the ground or not but it must have disappeared pretty sharpish whatever it was. It's tomorrow night the meeting I think.
John Pirlo
12 Posted 28/04/2014 at 22:55:33
First off, how are we gonna fill 60,000 plus when we did not even do that in the 80s? Second of all, are you aware that the other lot bring more money into the city every year than the Beatles tourists? To suggest that we can have a higher attendance than them is plain stupid.

I've been to the San Siro and seen 40,000 in there, the place looks like a morgue. At best, we can hope to get 50,000 and that's with regular CL football; that ain't coming soon...

Ian Robert
13 Posted 28/04/2014 at 22:50:33
Thanks Patrick. I live outside the Liverpool area and don't know if I can be bothered Tuesday.

I stopped going when they just de-generated into "let's shout at Bill" evenings.

Eric Myles
14 Posted 29/04/2014 at 01:40:40
"Or maybe the richest member of our board, Lord Ecclestone,"

You on the wrong website Andy, you want indyrs or qprnet.

Robin Cannon
15 Posted 29/04/2014 at 05:44:02
The King's Dock is the biggest missed opportunity at the club in decades. It would have been an iconic stadium dominating the skyline of the city.

...and it would have had a smaller capacity than Liverpool's proposed Anfield redevelopment.

Capacity is not the measure of whether we accept second class status or not. It certainly shouldn't be the prime factor in any stadium we might be lucky to ever have the money to build.

An amazing, high quality, atmospheric stadium with a capacity of 45,000, with iconic looks and something special about it would be amazing. I had no problem with Kirkby's proposed 50,000 capacity, just that it was a shit identikit box.

And...if done right...these new stadiums can be built with the scope to expand capacity in an elegant way in future.

Y'know, when we roll to our third consecutive title and there are an extra 20,000 fans clamoring to squeeze in for every game. :)

Matt Traynor
17 Posted 29/04/2014 at 06:11:20
Robin #16, Kings' Waterfront would've had a capacity of 55,000 if memory serves, which was deemed ample at the time. I can't recall from the designs whether there was scope for limited expansion. I do remember retractable seats in areas, and in a meeting "that it could host a speedway meeting in the morning, a football match in the afternoon, and a Tina Turner concert in the evening" (I can't remember who said that, but sure it was someone on the Council's team!)

By that stage it was known it wasn't going to happen. That for whatever reason, BK couldn't come up with the money (which at this stage had risen to £65m following a detailed re-costing).

I think rather than being the biggest missed opportunity in "decades", I'd go as far as to venture it's the biggest missed opportunity in the history of the club. Next year would've seen us commencing our 10th season there, with 10 years of increased revenues (noting that secondary revenue was part of the approved plan, unlike DK) and who knows where we'd be? Bill certainly wouldn't still be there, having long since cashed in his chips - and I wouldn't have begrudged him that for delivering KD. I hope he doesn' t make anything out of his Everton shares now, because a decade and a half of stagnation represents a huge opportunity cost to the club.

John Zapa
18 Posted 29/04/2014 at 01:49:01
I don't agree with your assessment. Build it and they will come you say, well, Goodison is built, but still cannot be filled except for a handful of games a season with only 1 completely selling out. Blocked views was the reason some have given, but the reality is that these seats are already discounted but still don't sell.

You contradict yourself when you say a 65000 seat stadium should be built and tickets sold for 30 quid. The bigger the stadium, the higher the costs rise and the ratio is not linear, it's exponential. Hence a 65k stadium could never be justified without 50+ pound tickets.

Also you mention the club becoming the second club of the city, well I hate to break it to you, but when it comes to international support, everyone in the league including Man U come behind Liverpool. I travel around the world frequently, meaning I have to watch watching in different countries in different time zones. The one constant is where ever I go, the pubs only fill up for liverpool games.

I don't think there should be an obsession with what Liverpool is doing. There will have been pressure on the board to show they are doing something on the stadium front, especially with Liverpool making their expansion plans clear. I wouldn't get my hopes up that the present board will take any decisive action, as their track record would indicate otherwise, especially considering the amount of time they have had to do something about it.

Matt Traynor
19 Posted 29/04/2014 at 06:54:37
John #18 I think you realise it's a lot more complicated than that. Right now Goodison with it's outdated facilities is unable to offer differentiated packages to different customer segments, and by doing so ensure a high overall yield per pax.

We have limited corporate boxes, consequently they are priced at double what you would pay for an equivalent facility elsewhere in the Prem (outside top 4/London perhaps). The location doesn't help sell it to "neutral" businesses either. Hence why recently these boxes have been tended to be snapped up by players, because it's a week's wages for a lot of them. (This also happens at Man U, but they have a lot more boxes).

That's also why a lot of houses on Goodison Road are actually unofficial lounges. The syndicate members have their own seats in different parts of the ground, and invite guests as they want. I've been in one of them, and it was actually frequented by former players and a manager, before the game - despite them having official duties at Goodison lounges, and afterwards, along with invited guests from the opposition. It's also rented out to a group of ST holders from Mordor on their match days/nights.

That to me also suggests unmet need.

When there was the marquee in the Park End, I believe that was well patronised? Again it was offering a level of service at a price-point lower than the corporate boxes and lounges in the ground. Again it was utilised (officially) by RS for entertaining fans prior to games at Mordor. More unmet need from EFC's perspective, now it's gone. I believe the ill-fated Everton Place development was also to contain more pre/post match dining/lounge facilities.

So any new stadium would, one hopes, have a range of options open to the fan depending on their price point and desires. A new stadium needn't necessarily equate to increased ticket prices (though invariably does due to pressure on player costs), but to say we don't sell out now, therefore we won't sell out at a bigger stadium is, in my view, too simplistic.

Karl Masters
20 Posted 29/04/2014 at 07:33:42
Brilliant original post. Exactly how the Club should be thinking.

John Zapa, the obstructed views are only discounted by £1 at present so no surprise people aren't keen on buying them!

I also recall that 20 years ago when we built the hopelessly small Park End (capacity 6,000 while the Street End holds 13,000) the Club said that a 40,000 capacity was 'more than sufficient for future needs.' As soon as the new stand was built it was filled instantly and average crowds jumped from 22,000 to 31,000 in one season and to 36,000 the year after. They have stayed around there ever since. So why is it that some fans don't think our crowds would jump again? Every new stadium has seen big crowd increases that by and large have stuck.

BK was part of the Board that sanctioned building only a one tier stand instead of the 10,000 capacity 2 tier structure promised along with artists impression in the Chelsea programme of April 1991. That was a shocking mistake that became evident within two years of the job being completed. We have paid for that small time thinking ever since.

In my opinion LFC are not thinking big enough. Their stadium will still be 20,000 short of Manure and no bigger than Spurs and not much different to West Ham. There is an opportunity here, but do we have the Board with the balls to deliver it? Based on previous showings you would doubt it.

Karl Masters
21 Posted 29/04/2014 at 07:55:51
Goodison has had sell outs ( home fan areas ) this season against Hull, Liverpool, Sunderland, Southampton, West Ham, Arsenal, Palace, Man Utd and Man City.

9 out of 19 fixtures despite live Tv at 4 of the 9. Could probably have had another 60000 fans at the Arsenal, Liverpool, Manc clubs matches. Over £2m in ticket revenue alone. £50m plus inflation over 25 years. Could make a big dent in paying back building costs from that alone.

And that in a season where we haven't won anything and the on the pitch revolution is only just underway. Got to think of the future. Thirty years ago when crowds of 12-15000 were regularly rattling around in 53000 capacity Goodison, nobody would have dreamt we would have twenty years of 35000 plus crowds at every game only a decade or so later.

Sam Hoare
22 Posted 29/04/2014 at 08:47:28
Wishful thinking from the OP I'm afraid. Our board have been totally unable to deliver even a mid range 45,000 seater let alone a high range 60,000 one.

It's so difficult to see how this jump is going to be made without a mega investor, the type that FFP is now designed to scare off. Perhpas if we got regular CL that would increase our revenue sufficiently to facilitate the increased debt required for a new stadium but that seems unlikely right now. At the moment our only chance of a mega stadium is if Kenwright gets Lord Grantchester hammered one stormy night, persuades him to call out his lawyer to re-draft his will, leaving everything to his beloved EFC and then offers him one last cyanide laced brandy before calling it a night.

Sean Kelly
23 Posted 29/04/2014 at 12:55:40
He'll will freeze over before this board delivers us a new stadium. Maybe if Fifa bring out a game of Football Chairmen, Billy will realise his dream. That's all it is folks... a dream. But beware, Billy – Goodison Park is fast becoming a nightmare for this club.

Apart from its fantastic atmosphere and brilliant loyal fans, it a mess. It's long since passed its sell-by date. Us Evertonians are dreamers along with Billy (music from Walt Disney coming into my head) but dreams don't come through.

Remember what Distin tweeted to a fan a couple of weeks ago. He was being slagged off but replied that we don't have the money to replace him. Reality check, folks: if we can't afford a centre-half, how in god's name can get a new stadium? We can't even afford a couple of lorries with blocks FFS.

John Zapa
24 Posted 29/04/2014 at 13:39:01
Matt,

There are uncatered pockets of demand, but in no way sufficient to add 30,000 more people to fill a 65k stadium. What should of been done with Goodison is what is currently happening at Anfield. The club should have been buying properties around the stadium over the years, and when they have the critical mass, buy out the rest. The it becomes feasible to expand a stand by adding another Tier while integrating additional corporate hospitality area's.

Sadly the stadium has been neglected, false statements about the impracticality/impossibility of redeveloping Goodison constantly repeated to the extent it's considered a fact by the majority, much like what was thought about expanding and improving Anfield. Look what Anfield will look like in 3-4 years time. They have people with vision in charge.

Clarence Yurcan
25 Posted 29/04/2014 at 14:26:22
During my first trip to Liverpool last month, to make my inaugural appearance at Goodison, I stayed near the King's Dock. It was good to finally see the area that I had read about for so long for that proposed development, it truly would have been a great location. I agree any new stadium should be in that general area and dominate the skyline.
Robin Cannon
26 Posted 29/04/2014 at 17:29:19
@Matt (17) - You're probably right. I just avoid calling it one of (if not *the*) biggest missed opportunity in our history, because it depresses me too much.
Charlie Gibson
27 Posted 29/04/2014 at 17:47:22
@Matt(17) @Robin(26) - I agree entirely; King's Dock is the biggest missed opportunity in our history. But what I was trying to get at in the OP was that we must learn from that fiasco and take the best from it. In the end, it had the support of the majority of fans because it fitted what we dream of (if Goodison can't be redeveloped) - a move to the heart of the city, to the Everton ward or to the waterfront, where we'd have the biggest stadium in the best location.

That's what the board should be looking to emulate. That kind of ambition is what we all want for EFC.

Tom Hughes said it well in another thread on this issue: "I'm very reluctant to sell [the history and memories at Goodison] for cheap non-descript flat-pack blandness elsewhere. Something genuinely inspiring, on a great central site with masses of public transport already in place, then I will vote to walk in my ancestors' footsteps for the last time. Anything less has little currency for me."

Walton Hall Park could work but building a 50,000 seater stadium there just seems like a missed opportunity. I don't want to be sitting there in ten years looking at 20,000 empty seats and wodnering what might have been. If we are in the city centre we become not only what we are now - 50% of the city - but a massive tourist attraction, a venue, a multi-event destination.

People talk on here about the need to build the brand, to compete with our red offspring and others globally. The only way to do that without a billionaire owner is to make a serious statement of our own and go from there. We should look to Arsenal and the Emirates for inspiration, and be very wary of the Reebok/Ricoh/Riverside fiascos (thank God Kirkby fell through). There are a few options in the city and I think Clarence Dock is the best of them - loads of space, an area in need of regeneration, a short walk from the city centre, with good transport links.

Many commenters are quick to slam this as impossible, "never gonna happen" etc. Fair enough, and unfortunately probably right. But we shouldn't just dismiss it and accept mediocrity. Everton was once at the forefront of stadium design, and should aspire to lead the way again.

Andy Crooks
28 Posted 29/04/2014 at 21:15:59
Let's build the biggest stadium the world has ever seen. Let's buy the best players and pay them the best wages. After all we have the money so why not spend it.

Some of these threads are beyond belief.

Lee Mandaracas
29 Posted 30/04/2014 at 15:22:39
I still don't get why 'The Loop' didn't catch on. I loved the design with the iconic hotel tower. Everyone coming out of the tunnel would have to circumnavigate the entire stadium and it is less than half a mile from all of the city centre's transport links, shopping, etc.

Okay, so it was an oval design but they reckoned the Emirates footprint would've fit perfectly in the space if my memory serves me correctly (although some said 60k wouldn't). Also, it was in the ward of Everton so even more appropriate to the name than our current location. As a second place to Kings Dock I thought it was a really solid plan but I guess BestWay have moved on now so another ship has sailed.

St Helens it is then..... lol

John Zapa
30 Posted 01/05/2014 at 08:55:10
I suppose it makes sense to some to build a stadium we don't need, with money we don't have for the extra fans that don't exist!
Brian Hennessy
31 Posted 03/05/2014 at 15:16:29
Phase One of any proposed new stadium,

Install retractable seating (as per Kings Dock) at Goodision......just a few mind. The ones underneath Bill and the rest of the board.

Retract them all the way to the mersey and dump them in it, only then can we move on to phase 2 with any hope.


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